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The #MeToo Effect

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The #MeToo Effect highlights barriers women like myself face from being survivors of abuse, especially sexual abuse. The fact that survivors of sexual abuse are deemed lesser than is absolutely incredulous and shows the cracks in the justice systems in the United States. Though I never reported my cases with sexual assault from my first relationship, it wouldn't have gone well anyway seeing how Chanel Miller and others who came forward didn't have a satisfactory outcome.

To be honest, I haven't followed the #MeToo movement, but I'm glad that this book kept me up to speed from an academic perspective. Though the #MeToo movement centers a lot of experiences surrounding sexual abuse from women, this is also for nonbinary people and men.

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Leigh Gilmore explores the #MeToo culture in her latest book, bringing the complexities and timeline of this movement to life. Placing it in conversation with current events, Gilmore emphasizes the multiple elements of the movement and the multiple perspectives of the women involved in this period of history. Gilmore’s reliance on and inclusion of primary sources, articles, and social media posts adds a level of personal experience to the book, emphasizing the scope and virality of the #MeToo movement. Gilmore brings in a great level of detail and information, and her ability to contextualize and explain the information presented makes this book accessible and readable for all levels. Gilmore’s ability to tie in current or recent events and make them relevant through a relationship to the larger movement makes The #MeToo Effect incredibly engaging with clear ties to the present day rather than existing as a movement set in the past. Gilmore’s prose and organizational style make this book easy to understand in a clearly organized thematic format, presenting her larger topics, themes, and arguments in clear, concise chapters. The #MeToo Effect is a fascinating, engaging look into this historical moment and the role that social media and gender played into the creation of this viral movement.

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DNF at 15% - the writing was not my style. Interesting topic and an important message, just not for me.

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I found this book to be engaging and well-informed. While reading, I could tell the author spent a lot of time researching the #metoo movement and its implications on our society and culture. This book raised new points to me, that I had not considered before, although I would consider myself well-read in the area of the #metoo movement and the realm of studying sexual assault and harassment. This book gives a lot of hard truth bombs, some that are commonly talked about and others that are difficult pills to swallow for those not constantly engaging in this content. It was riveting, raw, and will help change the narrative of future books written in this content area.

I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for the advance copy and for allowing the opportunity to expand my knowledge and learn from this book before its release. Please note all opinions are my own.

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Gilmore did an excellent job structuring this book and sourcing an incredible amount of sources. I found the information challenging and informative which helped me learn a lot. I would not recommend this book to everyone though because it's written in fairly academic, dense language.

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**Thank you to NetGalley and Columbia University Press for this e-copy in exchange for an honest review**

MeToo was created by Tarana Burke, and then a tweet by Alyssa Milano in 2017 made it really explode with the hashtag #MeToo. #MeToo uses activism and testimony to help make survivor stories credible when the law refuses to do anything. It is about listening to survivors, creating change, and recognizing inequality. Various memoirs are mentioned, such as Tarana Burke's Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the #MeToo Movement, Know My Name by Chanel Miller, Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford, Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper, and Consent by Vanessa Springora. Also mentioned are the Weinstein trial, Anita Hill, Kavanaugh hearings, Trump tape, and Taylor Swift being groped by a DJ.

This book talks about what happens when victims report their rapes and try to seek justice. The incident gets recorded and then everything is just stuck on a shelf until the victim follows up, and by then, the statute of limitations has usually passed, so nothing can be done. It also doesn't help that the very people who are supposed to be helping and protecting the public are often the ones doing the assaulting. Police officers, clergymen, and government officials are just a few well-known and usually highly respected kinds of people that have established golden reputations that might not be easy to taint. We are also taught to automatically believe what a man says, and doubt what a woman says. This means women already start out on an unlevel playing field just by nature of being a woman. There are basically two choices: to be seen as the problem, or to stay silent.

It's he/she said now. He says it was consensual, and she says it was rape.

If you report and go to trial, the abuser's defense will do whatever they can to twist everything into this being your fault somehow. They will focus on things you did before that incident, such as what you were wearing and if you drank. Basically, they make you look like you aren't a good person and are probably lying. Meanwhile, they try to make the abuser look like a good man whose life you're about to ruin. They will use your memory against you and prey on every inconsistency, even though memory can be affected by trauma and stress. They will say that you're just doing this because you regretted the consensual sex you had with him. Your lack of injury may be used against you to say that it doesn't seem like you tried to fight him off.

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“The #MeToo Effect” by Leigh Gilmore is insightful, eye-opening, and brutal. As is sadly the case with books like these, I anticipate the problem being wide-scale and deeply rooted, and yet, still, it is worse than I thought. The road to justice for and protection of sexual abuse survivors is still a long one. We have a lot of work to do but that doesn’t mean we haven’t made huge progress in getting here.

“The pattern persists because the racist and sexist associations required to reproduce it are entangled in processes that are enshrined as positive and fair. For this reason, our first thoughts about justice and protection are often for abusers rather than survivors.”

The book is broken into two parts. The first looks at narrative activism, how it has shaped and changed our conversations and the effect survivor testimony has had. It unpacks the shift from the individual saying something to a collective witness; it takes a close look at the people who spoke up and out about sexual trauma; and the historical context in which this revolution takes place.

“This book diagnoses why this is so difficult and how narrative activism makes it less so. It shifts the focus from demanding that survivors speak out to the features of narrative and reception that enable us to hear them.”

The second looks at the impact of the revolution on justice, how the storytelling has shaped consent and what survivors need from us going forward.

“Abusers retain positions of influence because they are often more aligned with institutional norms than are those who complain. Abuse is supported by processes that punish those who speak out, shield abusers from repercussions, and allow willing enablers and passive bystanders to thrive.”

I highly recommend reading this book to be challenged, to deepen one’s understanding, and to be inspired to do more. It’s a five out of five on the enJOYment scale.

”...but for a yes to be meaningful, we must be able to say no.”

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Columbia University Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
#bookreview #NetGalley #bookstagram #metoo #metooeffect #sexualabuse

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It's been said here before but this was a very heavy take on the #metoo movement. I had a hard time getting through it at points but I do think this is an important book to be out there.

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This is a timely read to help us reframe how we can help change the narrative so survivors of sexual harassment and assault can finally be heard and hopefully society moves away from "he said/she said" and scrutinizing the "victim's" credibility but not the alleged perpetrator's credibility. This book addresses how story-telling and narrative action should be centered within an intersectional feminist lineage - from Harriet Jacob's first person slave narrative to the Combahee River Collective statements. The author effectively illustrates the severe limitations of the criminal justice system to believe women -- from Chanel Miller's account to others and in fact it silences the victims. The law demands witnesses and corroboration even though that law was repealed years ago. Juries still are trained to believe it is "he said/she said" and get hung up on the definition of consent. Survivors are demonized (particularly women of color like Chanel Miller and Anita Hill). The importance of the me-too movement in all of this is it shows that sexual violence is a structural problem (about power) rather than just an individual problem. Me-too helped bring justice to the victims of Harvey Weinstein and when we as a society start to see how big the problem really is - it helps create a kind of cognitive restructuring and changes our default bias. The sad part in all this is as Bell Hooks said women can be patriarchy's most enthusiastic enforcers so we need to continue to support women who speak up and replace "he said/she said" with other means of telling their stories.

Thank you to Netgalley and Columbia University Press for an ARC and I left this honest review voluntarily..

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Leigh Gilmore, The #MeToo Effect What Happens When We Believe Women,
Columbia University Press, 2023.

Thankyou NetGalley for providing me with this uncorrected proof for review.

Leigh Gilmore has written a clear and understandable argument, underpinned by thoughtful discussion, on the impact of Me Too and its relevance to all debate about sexual harassment and rape.

She gives value to survivors’ narratives that underpin the arguments to apply the law without the sexism apparent in its application to sexual harassment and rape. These stories are shown to have been instrumental in producing a social environment in which believing women, making their stories part of the authority on which law is based has propelled changes in which demands for sexual justice includes women’s right to be heard. Again, the thoughtfulness Gilmore applies to her assertions gives them a weighty impact – they must be heard, they cannot be easily dismissed. Speaking out is studied in depth, drawing attention to all the factors that prevent women from doing so and reiterating the importance of recognising a woman’s right to be heard.

There are two sections: Narrative Activism and Survivor Testimony; Narrative Justice and Survivor Reading; a very detailed introduction and a conclusion with the title Promising young Women - What We Owe Survivors. This gives precedence to the role that survivors could have in proposing solutions. It also reiterates the credit due to Tarana Burke for her founding Me Too and introduction of the phrase to the debate. The discussion of the film, Promising Young Women is valuable.

There are good chapters on the cases and events with which many people feel that they are familiar. Gilmore’s assessment of Anita Hill’s attempt to bring Clarence Thomas’s sexual harassment into the inquiry into his fitness for office as a Supreme Court judge sits tellingly with a similar hearing many years later as Christine Blasey Ford attempts to have her story of rape heard during the Kavanaugh Hearings.

Depressingly, Gilmore claims that redress is unlikely to be accomplished by the criminal-legal system. However, in her argument about the importance of believing women, it is also worthwhile bringing to bear the value of applying this understanding to the law. And in her discussion, she canvasses this: that is, the alleged crime must be investigated without assumptions made on assertions such as ‘ladies lie’. The point is, does this ‘lady’ lie? Cases must be considered on their merits as is the case for other crimes; there must be an investigation to find the truth as occurs in other criminal cases; and an automatic disbelief in the accuser’s narrative must be put aside. She analyses the term ‘he said, she said’ and its automatic undermining of the proper investigation of an alleged crime. When investigation is informed by the arguments Gilmore enunciates it seems possible that justice could be done.

Leigh Gilmore makes a worthwhile contribution to debate around Me Too. In recognising that giving survivors a voice has been an important part of changing the way in which rape and sexual harassment are perceived and dealt with.

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This is case of "It's not you, it's me" -- for the most part. I have read my fair share of academic and non-academic books on the #MeToo movement at this point and I found this one to be saying pretty much the same thing. In that sense, if you want an overview of the key events and figures of the #MeToo movement (as the story is currently being told) and a precursory look into how it fits with the longer history of anti-rape activism in the US, this might be a good start. It hits all the major moments (Weinstein, Tarana Burke, Christine Blasey Ford) with some interesting additions (tracing the genre of rape memoir to Henriette Jacobson, talking about Vanessa Springora's book "Consent").

Overall,I found myself disappointed in this book. It treads very well established ground both on the side of the history of anti-rape activism, and the literary theory aspect of it. In addition to the actual facts and events being repetitive, I think the most interesting concepts were given a surface-level treatment and never really unpacked with the thoroughness they deserved. For instance, Gilmore introduces the concept of "reading like a survivor" as a strategy for engaging with stories of sexual violence, but she never makes the distinction between reading survivor's stories and reading literature more broadly. Nor does she probe or problematize the notion of reading or the ethics of asking art and readers to do the work of repair.

In fact, I thought she was going in a very thought-provoking directions by bringing up the hermeneutics of suspicion as a mode of reading and how that features in with our relationship to accepting women's stories (this could have been a great opportunity to engage with the notion of skepticism that marks a lot of philosophy and questions of epistemology). Instead, it was brushed aside in two paragraphs to rehash instead narratives we have heard so many times before.

Not necessary a bad book per se, just a very safe and unoriginal one.

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I personally didn’t like this book. Super slow for me. I wouldn’t recommend this book to my followers.

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The #MeToo Effect does a great job at breaking down the history behind the #MeToo movement. Gilmore covers the historical, legal, and social failures that have lead to this moment in a way that is engaging and informative. I highly recommend this for anyone who is interested in the topic! Thank you to Netgalley and Columbia University Press for the E-Arc.

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The #MeToo Effect: What Happens When We Believe Women by Leigh Gilmore is a powerful, must-read about the systemic backlash women face when they speak up about sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape. It ties together the mistreatment of Anita Hill, a Black law professor, and Christine Blasey Ford, a white psychology professor, who had accused previous nominees of sexual misconduct, and provides a voice to the movement against Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Trump, Bill Cosby, and other men who have taken advantage of their positions, money, and fame to take what they want, with no regard to their victims. Gilmore details the painfully slow progress that believing women has made, and the still prevalent “boys will be boys” and “he said/ she said.” Most profoundly to me was the information and narratives around consent, how “no” isn’t enough, and how often being fully incapacitated (and therefore unable to say “no”) is made to seem consensual. We need to believe women and this book skillfully outlines why.

Special thanks to Net Galley and Columbia University Press for providing an advanced reviewer copy to me, in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

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This book does an excellent job at covering the effects from the metoo movement.

It was easy to read and follow, with great information.

Definitely a buy for me

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I have some deja vu about this one. I remember preordering it for the library, which is impossible because I left over a year ago, and I remembered reading it, although I have no record of it.
Strange right?
That is likely because this is a topic that lives close to my heart. When #Metoo started few women came forward to declare that it doesn't apply to them, in unreal and cruel ways, which helped me pick my friends Not that my friends need to be a part of something so sad and so much a part of a woman's life, but they need to recognize a huge social movement for the healing power it has. They need to respect other women.
We are treated as "others". We are almost nonhuman to some of these people who hurt us. It happened to me and it has happened to lots of other women I know.
I was grateful for the movement for connecting (or disconnecting) us. This book covers the movement and the way it changed public perception, at least for a bit. We have devolved again.
This book is academic which I love but haven't read in a while. I feel like I would rad this i a sociology class and I do crave that sometimes.
If I didn't actually preorder it for the library, I hope someone did. They need it.

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This book was a great read focusing on the #metoo movement, it’s effects on society and the societal structures and bounds that permit sexual harassment. I found the approach and focus on the legal side very interesting and loved the exploration of the legal side of sexual harassment cases which is so important to understand in society today. I appreciated the perspectives offered and the general conclusion the author made on what should be done, which provoked a lot of reflection on our current society for me. I liked the focus on particular cases and the links that were made that showed these people so different and all so desperate to be similar and I liked how the theme of me too was consistently carried through different issues being selectively addressed. I found this book on the shorter side but for a book of its nature and level it was a sufficient length and a comfortable, engaging read which I really enjoyed.

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I ended up reading about 48% before my arc expired... Which hasn't happened before. This is a pretty heavy read, being an academic work about the Metoo effect.

It connects the Metoo movement with a lot of feminist movements from the past and gives a broader perspective. It also focuses very much on the American context, and much less on the worldwide effects (at least in the first half of the book). A lot of the context in this book feels less applicable in other countries, despite the metoo movement still having a great effect on those countries.

While I definitely learned stuff about feminism in the USA, I feel like I didn't learn all that much about Metoo, personally. I didn't think I was that well-versed in the topic, but maybe I was. I wish it would have gone deeper on MeToo itself.

For me, and people around me, one of the biggest effects of Metoo was show just how widespread this harrasement is. Almost every woman/girl has been in these situations, and this hashtag helped show that. This wasn't stated in the first half of the book, but maybe it was mentioned later.

All in all, the reason I wasn't able to finish this book was partly the writing, and partly that I didn't feel like I learned that much. I had trouble picking this book up again after putting it down. I usually rate books I didn't finish one star, but I don't think that's fair for this one, because it's definitely not a 1 star book. I'll go with 3 stars just based on content rather than on personal enjoyment.

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an incredible and crucial read for anyone interested in #metoo, gilmore situates the movement historically and culturally in a move that emphasizes its relevance outside of social media spaces and clarifies exactly WHY it matters. as with all of her writing, it's simultaneously well-researched/academic yet incredibly readable.

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The #MeToo Effect highlights the many barriers women like myself face from being survivors of abuse. Whether, that abuse is sexual, religious, financial, verbal, physical, or otherwise.
The fact that in 2023 we must still fight for equality, for our voices to be heard, for our statements/alleged allegations to be seen as credible is unfathomable.
I lived the horror of all forms of abuse via my former spouse of an 11 yr. marriage. I had three kids from the union. It ended 4 yrs later with 3 attorneys for the case with one assisting in bankruptcy do to the divorce settlements or lack thereof on my behalf.
What you see portrayed in this wonderfully written work is much the same experienced here. Grandiose ego's, positions of authority and power, the elite who threaten to destroy, the corruption and lack of competent judges, the disgusting/barberic mistreatment of those whom were abused. Not once but repeatedly by the system designed to protect.
Our thin blue line is meant to protect-serve, but at what extent is this accomplished, and for whom do they serve, might be best asked instead of merely, "What do we owe survivors?"
The victim blaming, shaming, guilt, gaslighting, manipulation, smear-campaigns, hoovering, and more are common place.
In my civil case - An I.C.C. (1st time violation) resulted in arrest of P.F.A. violation. He was sent for anger management and 3 months probation with drug/alcohol treatment being administered.
He told me afterwards years later, "I should've been teaching those courses not taking them."
It's appalling to note this man then became Deacon of our local churches after we separated/subsequently divorced in 2013. In fact, he has since wreaked havoc in his place of worship.
The fact that we have to rely upon celebrities to try to gain access to accountabilty is a slap in the face to ordinary citizens w/o the funding to protect themselves nor to even hold others accountable.
In fighting what do we gain? Might be a better question since we can't afford to fight City Hall or the Supreme Court as the cases may be in this novel.
Producing evidence to the crimes committed are often gone to the wasteside -ignored, forgotten, destroyed, hidden, or left to linger for the statues to expire w/o criminal charges being applied.
As a former public defender intern my job was to get people to understand multiple faucets of the legal system and apply it for defending our clients. I wasn't there to make nice or play the role of a supporter nor even to believe that those being charged were guilty or innocent. It was merely to 'Defend' and perhaps we need to examine it more closely.
The fact that he said/she said remains and that innocent before proving guilty is part of case law carries a grey area. Those we defend are in many cases guilty but as professionals we must remain neutral and serve out justice for those we defend.
As a survivor of a malignant narcissist I would add that these individuals know the courts from years of experience defending themselves in them. The tactics such as delay, appeal, pay-off, or threaten into submission are tactics that hold great pressure against survivors in coming forward.
Our lives are subsequently ruined while as Leigh Gilmore writes they're also enhanced for the defender who is awarded with specialized monetary gifts and entitlements for 'winning.'
Winning at all costs is something that's taken the back burner in these specific abuse cases. At what costs -much to ourselves-do we stay in this fight?
As in my case my excellent credit destroyed. My life torn to pieces even to today having been left bankrupt, homeless, LT unemployed from 20 yrs. childrearing/assisting spouse to further his own career.
Remember the old adage -Stand by your man? We're raised to not have power. To be silent. To take the blows and not speak out against our abusers.
In fact, upon discussing my own abuse his own aunt told me that I shouldn't come forward, remain silent, and stay married for the sake of the kids.
I chose to go to court and fight for the next generation not my own. Today I type this in extreme poverty, 12 yr of job searching, zero credit, and not able to re-enter after a 20 yr gap in employment.
Today I tell you that I told my story to every member of Congress and it fell upon deaf ears.
I was one of many who participated in the #MeToo movement. I believe in the voice of many but I don't always agree with walking around with a vagina plastered on my hat or on a sign to prove my point.
I believe the reason why many women aren't believed is because there's been a long time movement to see all women as crazy, delusional, or insane. The notion that we raise our voices and demand accountabilty shows a side of 'anger' that many aren't accustomed to seeing from women.
While, men showcase the same when being accused and in defending themselves for a woman to do the same will be labeled as too hard core, too femist, too much of a 'Karen' for their liking.
I'm a feminist -raised with three brothers/only daughter of 4 kids-I'll tell you this I'll never stop telling my story for the reasons you presented.
It's healing. It's helpful. It does open the doors for others to come forth in love and support.
So, in answer to your question what do we want :
For me-personally-it's to be heard. To be seen. To be valued. To be treated as an equal.
To not be told I'm not believable nor credible. To have my evidence and my statements/accusations validated. To not be told to sit next to my abuser in court. To not be told, "I'm just a mom" or that I somehow cannot be trusted in telling the truth.
It's degrading for women to have male judges entertaining the tactics I mentioned earlier in assisting men to gain the upper hand. We need to revamp our courts (family courts especially) in being knowledgeable of this abuse and being able to understand DV and Sexual Abuse victims in a new light.
We aren't lying for any monetary gain. We would never put ourselves out there as there's nothing to gain but additional blame/shame.
I woke up to sexual abuse literally/figuratively and being married should not grant one that entitlement over another spouse.
I'm told nobody would ever believe me but my response is this: I have an entire internet system that values my truths. #TheLostSelfLifeAfterNarcissism is my world on Facebook.
God bless all survivors and thank you Leigh Gilmore for spreading light in the darkness of abuse everywhere.

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